It was hard to tell if her eyes were bigger or the world which she perceived with them.
For the time being the world was nothing more humongous than the comfortably packed compartment of an afternoon metro, in which she took little interest. The ticket had enamored her entirely.
Many a time over she ran the little index finger across the brown line, which was conspicuously placed between the two sides of white.
And crumbling it would be the best punishment for that mundane piece of paper, she thought. The mother on whose lap this little princess was rightfully enthroned immediately rescued that crushed piece of paper from her hand, which happened to be her license to travel underground. The princess however did not consider the occasion to be worthy of her precious tears. The big round eyes now devoid of a singular object started distributing her attention among all her co-passengers-smiling ladies from across the aisle, colorful handbags they tightly pressed against their bosoms, a group of chattering young girls near the gate and finally the bizarre object sitting beside her- ME !
Somewhat like a metal detector the eyes scanned me from hair to knee( she could’ve gone on only that she perhaps considered me unworthy of it) and seemed not so satisfied. In her baby-tongue she rebuking-ly tried to tell me something, which I the lesser mortal could make nothing of and could only ask animatedly “ki??”(What??) She perhaps having realized that it was no good conversing with an ignorant fool then resorted to other means of communication. This time it was the odd-one-out game.
She showed me her bangles which were of a diameter of nothing more than 3cms, then she pointed at her mother’s bangles and even took the pain of bending far right to touch the bangles of the woman to her mother’s right, and then touched my wrist with a look of utter disappointment.
Oh! It was such a shame- I had none.
Next she pointed at her mothers earrings, leaned right to make sure the lady on her right had them too. Considerably satisfied she turned to point at my earlobe.
And there! I failed her again.
The third time it was the bindi, which my fellow competitors had, and I shamelessly lacked.
And that very moment the battle was lost!
The little thing had learnt to identify the WOMAN, the MOTHER with those inevitable ensembles- the bangles, the earrings, the bindi which were essential units of the image of the mother figure on her mind. And this impression on her child-mind was indelible. I, the un-decked, un-jeweled female was as obnoxious to her as a being from outer space. I couldn’t match up to the standards she had set, and so I was nothing of it—not a WOMAN, definitely not a Mother.
I had failed her expectations. Miserably.